More from Paul Johnson at ACC Media Days in Greensboro, N.C., starting with everyone’s favorite topic. (No, not uniforms)
1. Quarterback Vad Lee has been pushing Tevin Washington. Johnson said he’s become more comfortable, trying to turn weaknesses into strengths.
“On this level, you don’t get to just do what you like to do and what’s fun,” he said. “You have to embrace the whole thing. He’s done that and worked hard.”
Lee has been in the football offices watching video and continuing his education.
Said Johnson, “I could see Vad playing some this year, definitely.”
2. Johnson said the starting A-back opposite Orwin Smith could be “one of two or three guys.” I’m not sure if he literally meant two or three, but Deon Hill and Robbie Godhigh would be two. Tony Zenon and B.J. Bostic are the other most likely candidates.
“It’ll be a group, anyway, a committee,” he said. “That’s the way we’ve always played. Orwin will probably be highlighted a little more than we have in the past and the other guy will be more of a role guy.”
Johnson said the rotation could conceivably be as many as six players deep, though, with this group, it’d be hard to imagine the snaps being split equally.
“It just depends who you’ve got and what they bring to the table,” he said.
On Bostic: “He’s learning where to go and what to do. He can get in the mix, as well. He could have a role himself.”
Of note: Should Hill win the job, Tech’s starting A-backs would both be from Central High in Phenix City. Props to the Red Devils.
3. Speaking of A-backs, Johnson spoke at length about quarterback Synjyn Days and his possible move to A-back.
“I’d like to get him on the field if he can handle it,” Johnson said. “He’s still going to play some quarterback. We’ll go into fall camp, see where he is there. If he doesn’t beat Tevin out in the first two weeks of fall camp, I don’t want him standing over there in a baseball camp. He and Vad are very close, too, to each other. He’s a good athlete. We want to get him on the field if he can take care of the ball, learn where to go and do all those things. There’s still an ‘if’ there.”
4. Chances are against a true freshman lineman playing, but Johnson said of defensive end Francis Kallon, “It would be great if he could help us rushing the passer or doing some things or Pat Gamble or (Roderick) Chungong or Adam Gotsis or one of those guys. Adam’s the one guy who physically is going to be a little more developed than the other guys because he’s older (he turns 20 in September), but now the speed of the game is going to be far different than his Australian club team.”
On if he could foresee a non-quarterbacking role for freshman Justin Thomas: “Probably not.”
Johnson said he’ll play a true freshman on special teams if he’s heavily involved. If he’s on both kickoff and punt units, for example, “you probably play him because he’s probably going to play 20 snaps a game. If they’re just on one of those teams, you’re probably not going to play him unless they figure in the depth (chart) on offense or defense.”
He said he could see a wide receiver or two or defensive back playing and possibly a linebacker. It would be more difficult for a lineman.
Last year, 10 of the 22 freshmen played – three defensive backs (Corey Dennis, Jamal Golden and Zach Laskey, although Laskey has returned to B-back), three linebackers (Nick Menocal, Tremayne McNair and Kyle Travis), two wide receivers (Jeff Greene and Darren Waller), guard Shaquille Mason and long snapper Sean Tobin.
Two years ago, six of the 17-member class played as true freshmen – defensive backs Fred Holton, Isaiah Johnson and Louis Young, linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, kicker Justin Moore and A-back B.J. Bostic.
5. Interesting answers about Miami coach Al Golden and the school’s NCAA investigation.
“It’s hard enough for me to do what I’m doing,” he said. “I hadn’t thought about it. I’m sure Al will handle it, do a good job with it.”
There was a follow-up about giving advice.
“I don’t offer advice to Al,” he said. “I don’t offer advice to any of these guys.”
The quotable Paul Johnson
On Washington: It’s “pretty clear to me he’s the leader on the team. I can see that.”
On if rules changes about blocking will impact Tech’s offense: “No. They keep trying, but they haven’t got it yet.”
As Johnson’s interview session wound down, North Carolina coach Larry Fedora had a large crowd at his table: “I’m going to go over there and listen to Larry. He’s having a revival.”
On linebacker Brandon Watts: “Brandon can fly. … When you put on the football pads, he’s one of the fastest kids on the team. He runs guys down like they’re backing up.”
Other Media Days stories
- Story from Tuesday’s paper on Johnson’s comments.
- Jeremiah Attaohcu and Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas have put last year’s game in the past.
- Washington’s comments in Greensboro.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog